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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

14.02.2020: CALL FOR PAPERS, African Theatre Association (AfTA) 2020, Humboldt University, Berlin

Wann 14.02.2020 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100) iCal


2020 Annual International Conference of African Theatre Association Conference (AfTA)

Ageing, Old age, and Disability in African and African Diaspora Performance, Film and Festival


The Department of African Studies,

Institute of Asian and African Studies,

Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

July 23rd-25th, 2020


Call for Papers and Performances

Critics of performing arts in Africa and its diaspora have engaged with a wide range of topics in their writing, but there is limited critical engagement with ageing, old age, and disability. It is this dearth of critical discourses and debates on old age in African literary and theatre studies that has inspired the theme of the 2020 annual African Theatre Association Conference. The conference invites scholars, practitioners and activists of performance to focus their contributions on three areas which are mutually exclusive, yet incredibly inclusive, namely: ageing, old age—age(able)ism embodied—and disability. AfTA 2020 aims to create a platform on which these contributions will reflect critically on the role, representation, status and significance of elderly people in performing arts (theatre, oral performance, community theatre, drama, spoken word, epics, films, festivals, dance, music etc…) that are connected to Africa and its diaspora. Further, the conference invites contributions that investigate how ageing is entangled with elderly characters, performers, play directors/directing, dramatists and audiences in the debate of ageism, old age and disability in a bid to explore our understanding of performance, its production and reception.  Further, the conference aims to engage critical discussions based on varied understandings, perceptions and definitions of old age, ageing and disability, as well as whether there should be any intersection between these categories in African performances, film and festivals. Employing old age, ageing and disability as conceptual frameworks, the conference will provoke debates on how performances articulate these subjects at critical moments of artistic production and performance. The conference seeks to ask questions including: what are the nuances that either shadow or empower the production of performance based on ageing, old age and disability? What are the cultural and transcultural underpinnings espoused when subjects related to ageing, old age and disability are evoked in the performance culture? How do class, sexuality, gender, ethnicity and nationality affect our understanding of these classifications in the context of performance, film and festival? What are the theoretical and methodological conceptualisations that one might draw from to provoke scholarly debates related to ageing, old age and disability in performance, film and festival? 

We invite proposals, which focus, but not limited to the following topics;


The representation of ageing, old age and disability

Understanding of ageing, old age and disability

Ageism and ableism

Resilience and performance

Gender dynamics and masculinities

Queer Identity ageing, old age, and disability


Space, time and ageing, old age and ableism

Migration, performance and ageing, old age and disability

Questions of existence and ageing, old age, and disability

Identity construction

Colonial and postcolonial entanglements

Medialisation of ageing, old age and disability in performance, film and festival

Corporeality and materiality of ageing, old age and disability

Imagination of ageing, old age and disability

Authority and generational conflict


 Politics, legislature and the notion of ageism and disability

Customary practices on ageing and performance culture

Intangible mobility of performances: past, present and future

The performance of ageism in African culture


Researchers, scholars, performing artists and theatre activists are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words and 150 words biography to: conferences@africantheatreassociation.org

For questions and inquiries about the conference, please contact the conference convener, Pepetual Mforbe Chiangong, at:   aftaoldage@gmail.com


Abstract submission deadline is 14 February, 2020